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The original item was published from 8/9/2023 1:47:00 PM to 8/14/2023 2:46:37 PM.

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Posted on: July 10, 2023

[ARCHIVED] 20th Annual First Day Festival Set for Sunday, August 13

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The city of Charleston’s annual First Day Festival will take place on Sunday, August 13, 2023 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Gaillard Center (2 George Street) and the South Carolina Aquarium (100 Aquarium Wharf). Each year, the festival serves as a celebration of the importance of education and a kick-off to the new school year. Students who attend the festival will receive pre-packed bags of donated school supplies while they last.

How to donate: School supply donations will be accepted through 5 p.m., Thursday, August 10, 2023. The most requested supplies include pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils, composition notebooks, loose-leaf paper, spiral notebooks, glue sticks, two-pocket folders and pencil pouches. Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:


  • Arthur Christopher Community Center 
     265 Fishburne Street
  • Charleston Gaillard Center 
     75 Calhoun Street, Suite 3700
  • City of Charleston Parks and Recreation 
     823 Meeting Street
  • Embassy Suites Charleston Historic District 
     337 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Historic District 
     345 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403

West Ashley/James Island:

  • James Island Recreation Center 
     1088 Quail Drive
  • Bees Landing Recreation Center 
     1580 Ashley Gardens Boulevard
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Charleston-West Ashley 
     678 Citadel Haven Dr, Charleston, SC 29414

Daniel Island: 

  • Daniel Island Recreation Center 
     160 Fairbanks Drive
  • Home2 Suites Daniel Island 
     120 Fairchild St, Daniel Island, SC 29492
  • Hampton Inn Daniel Island 
     160 Fairchild St, Charleston, SC 29492

Mt. Pleasant:

  • Hampton Inn and Suites Isle of Palms-Mt Pleasant 
     1104 Isle Of Palms Connector, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
  • Hampton Inn Patriots Point- Mt Pleasant 
     255 Sessions Way, Mt Pleasant, SC, 29464
  • Embassy Suites Ferry Wharf Charleston Harbor 
     100 Ferry Wharf Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

North Charleston: 

  • Hampton Inn and Suites North Charleston - University Blvd 
     2688 Fernwood Dr, North Charleston, SC 29406
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Charleston Airport 
     3020 W Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29418
  • Homewood Suites Charleston Airport 
     5048 International Blvd, North Charleston, SC 29418

By mail:

  • Donations can be mailed to the City of Charleston Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families 
     75 Calhoun Street, Suite 3700, Charleston 29401

About the Festival: The First Day Festival, sponsored by the city of Charleston since 2003, is a celebration of education that welcomes students, families, educators and community partners to share information about available resources and support services prior to the start of the new school year.

The annual event is made possible through partnerships with the Charleston County School District, SC Aquarium and Lowcountry Food Bank; financial sponsors LINCS, TD Bank, United Bank, Nucor Steel, CharityProud, the InterTech Group, Hanysworth, Sinkler, Boyd, the Town of Mt. Pleasant, Baker Motor Co., Hubner Manufacturing Corp, and Burr & Forman; and the generous contributions of exhibitors, volunteers and donors. 

What to expect: In addition to the school supply distribution located at the Gaillard Center, the venue will host a number of exhibits providing information on student support services and community resources, as well as a free food distribution with the Lowcountry Food Bank. 

Liberty Square, located in front of the South Carolina Aquarium, will feature the city of Charleston Recreation Department’s Kids Zone with a variety of activities and entertainment. Free boat rides and admission to the South Carolina Aquarium will be offered during Festival hours, while supplies last. Boat ride tickets can be picked up at Liberty Square.

Parking information: Festival parking will be free in the Aquarium (24 Calhoun Street) and Gaillard Center (33 Alexander Street) parking garages. A free shuttle service will be provided and will run between the Aquarium and Gaillard Center throughout the afternoon to allow Festival attendees to easily move between event locations.

What they’re saying: Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said, “There’s no question that the First Day Festival wouldn’t be possible without our remarkable community partners who continue to show up in support of our local students. We’re proud to host the 20th annual event this year and look forward to helping attendees start the new school year off strong.”

Learn more: For more information on the First Day Festival, please contact Mindy Sturm at

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